While having a pool can be great, it can be one of the biggest silent energy suckers of all. Follow our tips to help you stop your pool being a real drain on your finances.
Energy saving tips
- Connect your pool pump to an economy tariff -Tariff 33 could cut your future running costs by around 19%1.
- Upgrade to an energy efficient pool pump and save up to 80% on your future pool running costs2.
- Regularly clear the water inlet to the pool pump to remove leaves and other objects which can impact water flow and require the pump to work harder.
- Keep your pool cool - the warmer your pool is the more energy and chemicals needed to combat algae growth.
- Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation, keep leaves and other debris out and minimise the energy needed to clean your pool.
- Check the running time for your pool pump with your local pool shop. Reducing its running time by just one hour a day could save up to $100 a year.3
- Cover a heated pool or spa with an insulated cover to reduce heating costs.
- Switch off the heater if you're not going to be using your pool or spa for an extended period of time.
Connect to economy Tariff 33
Economy Tariff 33 is cheaper than the residential Tariff 11 because the power can be turned off when the network reaches peak demand, usually during extreme weather conditions. These types of events don’t happen very often but when they do the power can be off for a few hours. In residential areas this generally occurs between 4pm and 8pm. You’re always guaranteed a minimum of 18 hours power each day. To make sure you minimise any lost time in running your pool pump on Tariff 33 we recommend setting your timer to avoid the daily hours of 4pm and 8pm.
Pool pumps running filtration and sanitation can be connected to Tariff 33 via a standard socket outlet which makes switching easy. Your electrician will install a power point that's connected to an economy rate electricity meter.
Other pool equipment such as pool heating, lights and water features can be connected to Tariff 33 also but must be hardwired, rather than connected via a standard socket outlet.
If you don't already have an economy rate meter, a separate meter will be installed and you will be charged an upfront fee to cover the cost of the new meter. All Tariff 33 charges are listed separately on your bill so you can see how much energy your connected appliances use on that tariff.
To take advantage of Tariff 33 savings contact a licensed electrician and ask them to connect your pool pump to this tariff. Please note, you will be charged for the electrician's time and materials to connect your pool pump to Tariff 33.
About star ratings
The Energy Rating Labelling Scheme is a national program to support the development and supply of energy efficient appliances by providing clear and objective information.
This information is intended to help customers understand the energy requirements and running costs of different appliances and help them to choose an appliance which meets their needs.
When buying a new pool pump, check the energy rating label. These labels provide a comparative assessment of the appliance's energy efficiency and typical annual energy usage (in kilowatt hours per year).
Ratings are currently only applied to pool pumps on a voluntary basis, which means pool pump suppliers can register their pool pump models and attach an energy rating label if they pass the testing requirements.
For more information, visit the Energy Rating Labelling Scheme website.
Types of pool pumps
Swimming pool pumps work by circulating water through the pool's filtering system, mixing chemicals and sanitizing the water to keep it free of contaminants and debris like algae and bugs.
Pool pumps are available in single speed, dual speed, multi speed and variable speed models, however it's important to note that this is not an indication of the pump's energy efficiency.
Whichever type you choose, it's important to make sure your pool pump is the appropriate size for your pool so it can cycle the water and clean your pool efficiently.
Single speed pumps are the simplest pumps available, and often the most affordable to purchase. However, by running at a constantly high speed, they can require a lot of energy and can be relatively noisy.
Dual speed or multi speed pumps can be set to run at different output levels, but this has to be done manually. Running the pool pump at lower speeds can mean you need less energy to run it, but it may need to run for a longer period.
Variable speed pumps can also run at different output levels, but can alter their speed automatically in order to deliver the greatest energy efficiency. You also have the option to adjust the speed levels manually, however please understand that if you set your variable speed pump to constantly run on high speed it will use more electricity.
Energy efficient pool pumps
While variable speed pumps are commonly considered to be the most energy efficient, there are several models of single speed and dual speed pumps available which are also highly energy efficient. The energy rating website offers a list of pumps currently participating in the voluntary labelling program.
Start saving energy and money with the right pool temperature
Generally, the hotter your pool is the more cleaning and chemicals are needed due to increased algae growth.
By monitoring your pool's temperature you can save energy and money. Set your pool heating system to the lowest temperature that is comfortable. Lowering the water temperature will reduce the running time of the heating system and save you money.
If you have a heat pump or gas fired heating system, set your thermostat to a lower setting to save even more.
Turn the temperature down or turn the heater off completely when you know your pool won't be used for several days or if you're going away on holidays. It's a myth that it takes more energy to heat a pool back up to a desired temperature than you save by lowering the temperature or turning off the heater.
Solar pool heating
The sun's energy is the most cost effective way of heating your swimming pool at home as the heat source is free.
However, solar pool heating requires a pump to circulate the water from your pool via the pool heating pipes (generally installed on your roof) and then back into your pool. Also, heating your water can increase your filtration needs further increasing running costs.
Heating your pool with solar can raise the temperature of your pool by around 6°C, depending on the climate and other factors.
It's best to use a pool cover with solar pool heating to minimise heat loss and help your solar operate more efficiently. This is especially the case in the cooler winter months.
What temperature should I set my pool?
As a guide, exercise or fun activities in the pool are comfortable at 24-28°C degrees. Shade and exposure to wind can affect the heat losses and gains.
Remember, the warmer your pool, the more you may have to run a pool pump for sanitation purposes. Algae grows faster in warmer water. If you want a pool heating system, talk to a pool specialist about the most appropriate system for you.
What temperature should I set my spa?
For relaxing in a spa pool it is recommended that you set your temperature at 34-38°C.
Talk to a professional
Speak to your swimming pool professional to help you find the best solution to save energy and reduce your pool electricity costs. Contact the Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA).
To find a registered pool technician or learn more about energy efficiency and pools, contact a pool industry association.
1. Based on comparing notified prices for Tariff 11 with Tariff 33, effective 1 July 2016.
2. Based on a 350W 8-Star rated pool pump compared to a 1.1kW fixed speed rated pump running 6 hours per day for 365 days per year.
3. Based on a 1 kW pool filter on Tariff 11.